When working within the marketing niche, one vital component is being able to build up your client database. But where do you start? You must be able to communicate effectively with existing clients and be able to target and submit quotation templates to others who may need your services. So, it is essential that you learn as much as is possible about your clients and this will be an ongoing process.
Marketing your services takes time but you do not want to make the mistake of marketing to the wrong people. This is a common pitfall. By understanding the basic rules of marketing and using all relevant tools at your disposal, this will steer you in the right direction. One such tool is a marketing communications plan, and this becomes the lens through which you communicate to those who need your services. To assist, there are numerous templates available for varying aspects of the business which can provide a more efficient approach especially if starting out.
Often known as a marcom plan, this is an effective way to communicate messages to your client database because it enables you to create appropriate campaigns while keeping your vision. Think of it as a vital component that exists within your main marketing plan and a document to support your own marketing endeavors. It helps you to research existing client needs and to take consideration of any competition.
The marcom becomes a sales plan complete with carefully thought out strategies to ensure success at achieving business objectives. The marcom plan has two distinct facets and determines who your customers are and how they purchase. This forms the basis of your marketing successes, so it is important that it is included. Think customer analysis and communication process analysis. There is understandably, much to consider when you manage a business, from managing your time to building an effective marketing pitch, turn to Bonsai, the experts within the freelancing industry.
A little research can help you to define what clients need and what you can do for them. To be able to develop a strong marketing communications strategy, you must place yourself in your client’s position and to think like them. What characteristics might define this audience for you? The more you comprehend, the easier it is to communicate regularly and consider their preoccupations. You can then find ways to make their lives easier or, financially rewarding. This works both ways of course as you must consider streamlining payment options for when your clients hire you. Successful planning equates to mindset. To connect with and build rapport, you need to understand their views and needs. Research this information and include it in your marketing communications plan. It may seem overwhelming initially, but, Bonsai can help with your freelance contracts.
When you start to write your marcom, you need to consider your mission. Keep the mission strong in your mind so that it remains a constant throughout. A marcom ensures all proposed activities support the big picture i.e. the end goal. This plan guides you and helps you to know where you are going and what you need to achieve. It’s a projection for self. It provides a tangible record as to what you want to accomplish. It must be dynamic and yet, flexible. It contains a collection of tactics and strategies whether short or long-term and you must include the main goals and sub-goals too. The marcom is driven by your comprehension of the target market and who you network with.
To be successful in marketing, you need to consider all aspects of your business. Initially, spend some time crafting a marketing strategy that supports business goals and one that matches the ethos of your business. When you do this, you create the solid foundations for your marketing endeavors and can build upon this layer by layer. A marketing strategy saves you money, increases sales and helps to target services or product marketing. Note that you can have the best strategies but without effectively communicating to your target market, your business will not succeed.
By utilizing a marketing communications plan, you think outside of the box. It doesn’t matter what experience you have, it forms a starting point. You know what you are trying to achieve and can deliver important messages to potential or existing clients in a few tried and tested ways. Using the marcom, you break down aspects of your business addressing each area with renewed focus. You create a strong brand, you develop clear statements that serve to benefit those who would use your services. You create eye-catching taglines and cover all main communication channels. To do this, you must always keep in mind your vision and mission.
Consider all marketing and communication avenues available to you. It’s important to not rely solely on one aspect of communication although you will find some work better for you than others. Your marketing communications plan can be packaged differently to attract a different audience using email marketing to subscribers on your list or, perhaps using direct mail. You can also attend conferences and trade shows or provide print publications or brochures.
You need to integrate proposed campaigns within your marketing communications plan creating specific demographics which include age, income, geographical location and so on. You may also wish to consider interests, hobbies, values or even psychological traits. You build up a picture so to reach the right people. Setting strategic goals should also play a part of your marcom plan. This must include brand awareness, an expanded reach or how to develop customer affinity.
No one should know your clients like you. You need to engage and build rapport with these clients so that they turn to you when they need someone they can trust. The marketing niche is competitive, and so, a marcom helps you to forge and build bonds with new and existing clients. It helps you to extend your reach and plan. Think about the language you use, think about your inner message. Consider what you are trying to achieve.
Once you identify your target market, you move onto strategic communications incorporating the channels that you wish to focus on. You may allocate a designated budget for each but, you must match the right communication methods to the right people. Consider your key messages. The same content may be marketed in different ways and across multiple channels reducing financial outlay. This may not be possible with all channels, but it also depends on the information collated in your marcom plan. Do not spread your marketing aims too thin.
Part of your market research will be to discuss which channels are used more often with clients. This could be dependent on age, location or, services. Keeping track of time is important for any individual and so, Bonsai provides freelance time tracking solutions to manage the duration of tasks.
Your brand needs to be consistent and this means including style of communications, colors, logos and fonts too so, in your marketing communications plan consider the look and feel of your communications. You also must be clear and consistent throughout your communications, remember, the brand and layout along with your message represents you. Short messages are just as important as email campaigns and all communications must be written with your vision in mind. Align these plans with your original proposal.
Although you may find it difficult to craft the marketing communications plan initially, it is a tool that helps to focus your mind and to determine what you are trying to achieve. So, what is a marketing communications plan? It’s the tool that enables you to increase your potential to build effective communications with clients and to market your business with purpose and drive. Essentially, it forms the foundations of success. Take the mystery out of freelancing and drive your business forward with confidence, try Bonsai with a free trial.
A verbal contract (formally called an oral contract) refers to an agreement between two parties that's made —you guessed it— verbally.
Formal contracts, like those between an employee and an employer, are typically written down. However, some professional transactions take place based on verbally agreed terms.
Freelancers are a good example of this. Often, freelancers will take on projects having agreed on the terms and payment via the phone, or an email. Unfortunately, sometimes clients don't pull through on their agreements, and hardworking freelancers can find themselves out of pocket and wondering whether a legal battle is worth all the hassle.
The main differences between written and oral contracts are that the former is signed and documented, whereas the latter is solely attributed to verbal communication.
Verbal contracts are a bit of a gray area for most people unfamiliar with contract law —which is most of us, right?— due to the fact that there's no physical evidence to support the claims made by the implemented parties.
For any contract (written or verbal) to be binding, there are four major elements which need to be in place. The crucial elements of a contract are as follows:
Therefore, an oral agreement has legal validity if all of these elements are present. However, verbal contracts can be difficult to enforce in a court of law. In the next section, we take a look at how oral agreements hold up in court.
Most business professionals are wary of entering into contracts orally because they can difficult to enforce in the face of the law.
If an oral contract is brought in front of a court of law, there is increased risk of one party (or both!) lying about the initial terms of the agreement. This is problematic for the court, as there's no unbiased way to conclude the case; often, this will result in the case being disregarded. Moreover, it can be difficult to outline contract defects if it's not in writing.
That being said, there are plenty of situations where enforceable contracts do not need to be written or spoken, they're simply implied. For instance, when you buy milk from a store, you give something in exchange for something else and enter into an implied contract, in this case - money is exchanged for goods.
There are some types of contracts which must be in writing.
The Statute of Frauds is a legal statute which states that certain kinds of contracts must be executed in writing and signed by the parties involved. The Statute of Frauds has been adopted in almost all U.S states, and requires a written contract for the following purposes:
Typically, a court of law won't enforce an oral agreement in any of these circumstances under the statute. Instead, a written document is required to make the contract enforceable.
Contract law is generally doesn't favor contracts agreed upon verbally. A verbal agreement is difficult to prove, and can be used by those intent on committing fraud. For that reason, it's always best to put any agreements in writing and ensure all parties have fully understood and consented to signing.
Verbal agreements can be proven with actions in the absence of physical documentation. Any oral promise to provide the sale of goods or perform a service that you agreed to counts as a valid contract. So, when facing a court of law, what evidence can you provide to enforce a verbal agreement?
Unfortunately, without solid proof, it may be difficult to convince a court of the legality of an oral contract. Without witnesses to testify to the oral agreement taking place or other forms of evidence, oral contracts won't stand up in court. Instead, it becomes a matter of "he-said-she-said" - which legal professionals definitely don't have time for!
If you were to enter into a verbal contract, it's recommended to follow up with an email or a letter confirming the offer, the terms of the agreement , and payment conditions. The more you can document the elements of a contract, the better your chances of legally enforcing a oral contract.
Another option is to make a recording of the conversation where the agreement is verbalized. This can be used to support your claims in the absence of a written agreement. However, it's always best to gain the permission of the other involved parties before hitting record.
Fundamentally, most verbal agreements are legally valid as long as they meet all the requirements for a contract. However, if you were to go to court over one party not fulfilling the terms of the contract, proving that the interaction took place can be extremely taxing.
So, ultimately, the question is: written or verbal agreements?
Any good lawyer, contract law firm, or legal professional would advise you to make sure you formalize any professional agreement with a written agreement. Written contracts provide a secure testament to the conditions that were agreed and signed by the two parties involved. If it comes to it, a physical contract is much easier to eviden in legal circumstances.
Freelancers, in particular, should be aware of the extra security that digital contracts may provide. Many people choose to stick to executing contracts verbally because they're not sure how to write a contract, or they think writing out the contract terms is too complicated or requires expensive legal advice. However, this is no longer the case.
Today, we have a world of resources available at our fingertips. The internet is a treasure trove of invaluable information, platforms, and software that simplifies our lives. Creating, signing, and sending contracts has never been easier. What's more, you don't have to rely on a hiring a lawyer to explain all that legal jargon anymore.
There are plenty of tools available online for freelancers to use for guidance when drafting digital contracts. Tools like Bonsai provide a range of customizable, vetted contract templates for all kinds of freelance professionals. No matter what industry you're operating in, Bonsai has a professional template to offer.
A written contract makes the agreement much easier to prove the terms of the agreement in case something were to go awry. The two parties involved can rest assured that they're legal rights are protected, and the terms of the contract are sufficiently documented. Plus, it provides both parties with peace of mind to focus on the tasks at hand.
Bonsai's product suite for freelancers allows users to make contracts from scratch, or using professional templates, and sign them using an online signature maker.
With Bonsai, you can streamline and automate all of the boring back-office tasks that come with being a freelancer. From creating proposals that clients can't say no to, to sealing the deal with a professional contract - Bonsai will revolutionize the way you do business as a freelancer.
Why not secure your business today and sign up for a free trial?